When to Ship Your Car Across the Country

by | Transport Tips

ship car across country

20+ Hours: Drive or Ship My Car Across the Country?

As people purchase vehicles online, they become much more familiar with auto transportation. But when do you know it’s worth the cost to ship your car across the country? Perhaps you’re moving or relocating for a job, and you don’t want to drive your car across the country. It takes a lot of time, we don’t blame you.

A 12 hour drive is a justifiable trip for some people, especially if you’re on a tight budget. But get much more than that, and all those miles are going to put some serious strain on your vehicle. If you’re looking to ship your car across the country, there are a few things you can do to make it a less stressful undertaking.

This guide to using a transportation service will make your interstate car transport experience more likely to have a happy ending (and easier on the nerves).

Your options: Broker, Auto Hauler, or both

If you’re shopping for a cross-country transportation, look for an auto shipping company that offers nationwide service. This means they can cover routes from North to South, and West Coast to East.

We recommend choosing a company that’s primarily an auto hauler, and also has a broker’s license. To translate, being an auto transporter means they’ll have their own fleet of trucks with which they can ship your car.

Here’s why they’re the best option: if they don’t serve the area your transport order requires, having a broker’s license will enable them to find car carriers they do business with to transport your car from point A to point B.

Ship car across country Get a free auto transport quote and book with J&S Transportation to ship your car cross country!


Find a Company You Trust to Ship Your Car Across the Country

J&S Transportation is primarily an auto transporter. We’re also a licensed broker. This means we have the flexibility to meet your auto transport needs with ease.

Our satisfied customers have shipped over 235,000 vehicles through J&S Transportation, many on our own fleet of trucks. However, if we can get your vehicle shipped safely and quicker by brokering your order to a partner business, we’ll do it. You will always first be informed of this option before moving forward.

Carol needed to ship her daughter’s car from Portland to Boston, and asked the dealer they purchased the car from for help. “(She) followed their recommendation… and trusted the dealer. They said that (J&S Transportation) have transported a lot of cars for them, so I said ‘okay, well that must be the way to go.’

We’d never shipped a car before so we had some worries… and we wanted to make sure the car wasn’t just going to be sitting somewhere for days.

“What really made this easy on us was having someone, Joe, available on the phone to answer my questions and answering my emails promptly; he took care of everything and kept us informed so we knew so we didn’t really have to worry about it.

“He was helpful to my daughter, too, when she was trying to arrange the delivery in Boston when we didn’t really have an address to send it to.

He answered all our calls and he was there to help us.” Read the rest of Carol’s testimonial here.

If you place your auto transport order with us, you can expect personal contact throughout the transport of your vehicle, regardless if we ship it on our own trucks or broker it.

Research Helps You Avoid Unnecessary Stress and Fiascos

Whatever your reason for needing to ship car across country, it’s important that you feel like the service is going to meet your needs. It’s more than worth the time spent to check out the companies you may use to ship your car.

Contact the companies you’re considering to ship your car. Ask them questions about the service they provide.

Example questions:

  1. Is it door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal?
  2. What is their policy regarding potential damage to your vehicle during transport?
  3. Will you be able to talk to a real person if there is a problem with the pickup or delivery of your vehicle?
  4. What if you simply have a question regarding your transport order?

If there isn’t a big difference in the quotes you’ve gotten from the companies, customer service may be the deciding factor on which car transporter you choose. Most reputable companies will offer free instant quotes to ship a car across country.

Get quotes from multiple companies, but don’t stop there. Once you’ve gotten transport quotes from a few auto transporters, narrow your search by researching the companies. Look for customer reviews, either on the company’s site or on customer review sites. Also check out their rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Mike needed to ship his son’s Hyundai Sonata from Nevada to Virginia. “It was in Las Vegas and we needed to get it to Virginia, so I went online and did a Google search for car transport. I did comparisons with a couple of other sites…”

When I did a little calculation, it was actually cheaper than going out there and driving the car back myself.

Read the rest of Mike’s transportation experience here. When you find a company with good reviews across the board, it’s more than likely you’ll have a positive auto transport experience.

Ship Your Car Across the Country Mike and Elaine with their son’s car.


Pro-tip: these 3rd-party sites are a great place to start.

  1. mymovingreviews.com
  2. transportreviews.com
  3. bbb.org
  4. yelp.com

Cheap is gonna Cost You

When comparing offers, most of the time cheapest quotes don’t mean the best. Remember the last time you chose to buy the cheaper version of a product, and it ended up costing you more later? You can avoid that frustration when you ship your car across the country.

A less than reputable company will lowball you with a quote that’s significantly lower than anyone else. This becomes a problem when they’re unable to find a carrier to transport your vehicle for that price.

Sometimes the auto transport broker gets so far as collecting your deposit, then takes weeks (or months) to pick up your vehicle. The reason for this – the broker is trying to find an auto carrier willing to ship your car for the price they quoted you. If they can’t find one, your car won’t be picked up.

It takes enough time to drive 20-40 hours (about 1800 miles or more). The last thing you want is to be expecting your car to be delivered, only to find out it hasn’t even left the city it started in. It gets really inconvenient really fast, and only gets worse the longer you are without your car. If the auto transporter doesn’t deliver when promised, it will cost you even more if you need to rent a car while you wait for your vehicle.

Cheap vehicle hauling quotes may look good on the outside, but they can be the biggest headaches.

ship car across country A J&S Transportation trailer loaded up with trucks and cars on the way to their new owners.


Choosing Your Company

Once you’ve done your homework, decide which company you want to transport your vehicle, and book your order. At this point, you’ll get estimates for pickup and delivery dates.

These dates aren’t set in stone, as there are a lot of factors that can affect the pickup and delivery of your vehicle. Weather and road conditions are the main factors that are out of the auto transporters control.

Your last step is to prepare to ship your car across country. This guide is for you.

Camille’s CR-V Took a Trip from Montana to New Jersey

“J&S Transportation did an excellent job. The pickup and delivery drivers were courteous and clear about arrivals for pick up and drop off.

Honda CR-V tansported from Montana to New Jersey

All contact personnel were precise in what to expect for pickup and they kept us updated and informed during the entire process including letting us know the location of the truck along the route.

I would definitely use them again for a car transport!” Read Camille’s review here.